The Correct Tools For Grooming Long Haired Cats
By Anita Kelsey BA Hons (1st), MCFBA, CIDBT CatBehaviourist
During my years working as a cat groomer and consulting on behavioural issues connected to the grooming process, I have noticed a rise in incorrect grooming tools being used by owners of long-haired cats.
Incorrect or inappropriate cat grooming tools can lead to behaviour issues down the line. This is especially true when the wrong grooming tool that is being used causes discomfort or pain to the cat. This results in antagonistic or aggressive behaviour aimed at stopping the process. Negative associations in the cats mind thwart any future attempts by the owner, groomer or veterinary staff a grooming.
Education is key and must start by grooming with the correct tools. Veterinary practices can greatly help owners of high maintenance cat breeds by selling the correct products in the first instance. Two good examples of grooming combs for long hair cats are:
The combs illustrated have teeth spaced out for comfort and are ideal for cat breeds with thick coats such as Persians, Norwegian Forest, British Long Hair and Maine Coons. Short-haired cats with thick coats can also benefit from these combs. The combs enable the undercoat to be reached with ease without pulling at the fur or bluntly cutting it like some popular grooming tools on the market.
Grooming should always start and finish with positive associations such as treats, playtime, stroking in favourite areas such as under the chin, head and cheeks. Many cats do not like being handled or confined, so short sessions should ensure the cat remains tolerant and matt-free.
Grooming should be introduced as early as possible. This allows the kitten to get used to being handled by humans, as well as creates a fearless and comfortable bond when being combed. Positive grooming associations enable the cat to connect the grooming tool with beneficial and fun things. One bad grooming experience resulting from the wrong grooming tool or incorrect handling can leave a cat with a lifelong fear of the grooming process. Unfortunately in some extreme cases this leads to grooming under sedation being the kindest option.
Cat owners listen to their veterinary practitioners. Together we can make a difference.
Article by Anita Kelsey